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originally posted by: planetyeck
It's the one that we don't hear about that will be the one that wipes us out.
originally posted by: ArnoldNonymous
I'm not sure if anyone has scaled it down yet for easier understanding:
The Earth is a 42 foot ball of rock
The Moon is an 11 foot ball of rock a quarter mile away
The asteroid is a 1mm grain of sand "blazing by" 6.3 miles away
I always thought a close-call was defined as something that was at or within 1 lunar distance (distance from Earth to Moon ~ 240,000 mi)
originally posted by: Fromabove
Distance from one object to another is not that important as is gravitational relativity. On it's journey towards the earth the ever slight tug between the two objects will increase and the earth will bend the path of the object a little as it passes by. The problem scientists have is the variable problem where a small chuck of something knocks it into a more direct path, or the effect of other bodies in the solar system, even the position of the sun in relation to it and the earth. That's why as a near miss it is alarming to some.
The other problem would of course be all of the smaller pieces that usually travel with the larger ones. Even a piece as small as one eighth the size of it is enough to cause wide scale destruction to some part of earth if it got slung our way.
So one way or the other, they're watching it closely.